It even went to hunting camp; and often he was seen reading it by the light of the gas lantern. His well-worn leather bible went where he went — he treasured this book.
Each evening he would spend time pondering its words and his life reflected what he had read. From the way he approached a relationship with his Creator to the way he treated his neighbor — he took each passage to heart.
Much like his old Remington, there were some things he believed one should never let go of. The bible and its truths were one of them.
This book had impacted every detail of grandfather’s life. His relationships, work ethics, stewardship, conservation, love for his children, and grandchildren — every aspect of his life was governed by the bible.
Although now in his mid ninety’s little has changed. With a furrowed brow and slowing step Grandfather is just as committed to loving Jesus Christ as he was fifty years ago. On his coffee table rests the same dog-eared bible that has been a source of strength for him all these years. Its pages are torn, tear stained and smudged from hard working hands, but to him it still holds the words of life.
This morning I sit reading from the same book. As I read I’m praying that its words impact my life just as they did my grandfathers. From the way I treat others to the way I see life in general — I want my character to be molded by its truths.
Yet, as I study its words I recognize scriptural principals can apply to every facet of life — believe it or not — even to bowhunting. Here are three simple scripture lessons that can apply to every area of the bowhunters life.
1. Philippians 4:8 – A Lesson In Perspective
Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Few will argue with the fact that life is a journey. It’s a meandering road filled with unexpected adventure. How we embrace its twist and turns will impact our overall attitude towards life.
If our steps are driven by negativity and disbelief we will be shaped by our own fears. If we are compelled by faith, mercy and grace, we will be consumed by the belief that Someone greater than ourselves is directing our paths.
It’s all in the perspective.
Having spent a considerable amount of time around bowhunters, there seem to be two camps. In one camp are bowhunters who apologize for the does they shoot and poor-mouth the less-than trophy bucks they kill. In the second camp, are bowhunters who remain positive no matter the outcome of the hunt — Fred Eichler is a perfect example. The guy is ecstatic just to be outside with a bow in his hand. Just a few minutes spent with Fred and one can easily see that perspective determines attitude.
It has been said, “Your mind is to your soul, what your heart is to your body.” Although the bible gives us a proper view of God, it also offers us insight into how and why it’s important to keep a proper perspective in every area of our life.
2. Philippians 3: 13-14 – A Lesson In Dedication
Philippians 3: 13-14 “…but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Just as my Grandfather lives his faith 365 days a year — so to be successful at anything takes a daily commitment. Dedication does not come with a set of regulations to determine on what day it begins or ends. Dedication is not seasonal. Neither is dedication dictated by the exact moment of a sunrise or sunset. Dedication must be perpetual.
Dedication means the bowhunter prepares in spite of how he or she feels or what others say. Dedication is a commitment to disciple oneself in order become more proficient at the disciples we pursue.
Dedication can determine ones depth of devotion, knowledge and proficiency in both spiritual things and bowhunting.
My grandfather is preparing for his eternal destiny, so he makes daily bible reading a priority. Bowhunting isn’t about salvation, but shouldn’t we embrace the same persistence in every area of life?
3. Matthew 6: 33 – A Lesson in Priorities
Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
The genesis of my passion for hunting began in the woods of northern Michigan. Seated on a blanket of pine needles my grandfather would explain the ways of the whitetail. Surrounded by the colors of fall he showed me how to shoot his old 30-06. On the way back to hunting camp he answered the simple questions of an inquisitive boy. It was also in those woods where I learned about God.
Grandfather never missed a chance to remind me how good God is. When scouting, building blinds or dragging out a deer, I would always hear him make reference to God’s creation and its beauty. God was a priority to my grandfather. God was the pivotal point around which everything else evolved. In grandfathers life, God was first place. And everyone knew where his priorities were.
Because grandfather had experienced the truth of what life is really about. Not antlers on the wall, bragging rights, big egos or records. He had found life is best when God is first.
As a bowhunter it’s easy to allow bowhunting to take the place of God. The only problem is bowhunting isn’t God. Bowhunting didn’t send His son to die for my sins.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
The bible reminds me what my priorities are, God, family, friends — then bowhunting.
Keep the faith!